And Then My Mother Almost Threw Up

For their last day, I took my parents to the nicest restaurant I had been to in Japan. Right in the heart, as in the very veins of the woods, it was very traditional (in every way possible: food, setting, manner etc) and also very expensive (not that that matters but it does).  And… turns out some traditional Japanese food, much like other traditional foods (cough Iranian sheep’s head for breakfast cough) require some getting used to. These may include okara (soy pulp), konnyaku (devil’s tongue), shiitake mushroom and various pickles.  I guess, more than anything, it’s the texture of these foods that can get to you the most. Anyways, my parents hated the food. Well, my dad said he didn’t mind it but I beg to differ. And my poor mother almost threw up (oh no!) But but but they liked the scenery though! So it wasn’t all crying emojis.

So I was wondering, what foreign foods have freaked you out the most? When my family first moved to NZ from Iran, I personally could not fathom the putrid stench of pork. We had never eaten it back home (not because of religious reasons, we are Bahai’s not Muslims, but because it was not available). Though that changed in time and I started eating bacon with toast. Also, vegemite or marmite. Both of which (don’t lose your shit) taste the same to me. I still don’t understand how these two are edible?! Why?! Especially in a sandwich with lettuce and cheese! Argh! What was my primary school bestie’s mom thinking?! Gross.

Anywho, here are the pictorials and despite my parents’ reaction, I enjoyed the food and maybe you would too heheimage-28image-25


  1. The first time I was in Japan I couldn’t stand tofu. we don’t have anything like that in Estonia. It had a disgusting texture and I felt it tasted like snot, so I avoided it whenever I could… not sure how or when, but eventually I came to love it though, which is weird, because I barely even ate it. Just one day I thought that tofu would be nice to have with a dish and that was it.

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  2. During my brief stint in Japan, I hated natto and uni. Still do, apparently. Natto smells so badly all I could do was eat it while attempting to hold my breath. And uni, to me, is simply the liver of the sea, so ugh.

    In Thailand, I was also stupid enough to try durian. No more. Never again.

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  3. Tastes do change… The one time I was in Japan, we were invited to just such a restaurant and, after many courses, got a little bowl with a lid. Inside was some kind of custard and I thought ‘Dessert!!’ The thing had bits of fish in it which I’d thought were raisins (like a Japanese bread and butter pudding…). I’ve no idea what it was called….

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  4. What a great article, all food is weird to someone. My family grew up eating potatoes balls and salt pork which no body likes hardly but my family. The weirdest thing I ever ate was some kind of fish stew that my friends dad was making it smelled so weird and looked do weird that I pretended to be sick so I did not have to try it. :~)

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  5. I thought vegemite and marmite were the same thing. I’ve never tried either one but the ingredients are the same? Confused. Also, why would anyone put that on a sandwich of any kind, based on just the ingredients list it sounds like something I might experimentally bake IN bread, not put ON it. Instead of vege-mar-mite, can I have any kind of butter? Peanut, sesame, cashew, cow…

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    1. Hahahah well one is from NZ and one is from Australia (can’t say which sorry) and there’s this huge debate about which is best because apparently they taste distinctly different (whatever). And yes, any kind of butter, anything at all just not that sour/bitter/salty black stuff!

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    1. I came across smelly tofu in taiwan and it is rank. i couldn’t get near the stuff. Myself and my friend had to avoid parts of the food market because we couldn’t handle the smell at all. I am a great believer in trying new foods and I ate all sorts of new things in Taiwan, but tofu of any sort just was not working for me!


  6. I just tried red fermented tofu for the first time the other night and it’s very similar to marmite! We added a small amount to a stirfry, similar to how you would add a small amount of marmite to nachos or something…..

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  7. I remember having a fancy ryokan dinner in Japan that included a sort of small shrimp encased in gelatin – it actually was pretty good, but my brother passed on that one.

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  8. We in India have something similar to tofu,its called cottage cheese or “paneer”… I am a great lover of paneer and there are number of dishes actually yummy dishes to make from paneer..

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